Death Still Stings
It was early Saturday morning when our phone rang. Mary picked it up in the kitchen. It was from a dear friend in Canada whose wife had just died after battling a terminal lung disease. Doy shared, “I wanted to make sure that you and Dave got the news. I was able to get her to settle down, listened to make sure her breathing was steady, and then climbed in bed beside her and put my arm around her. Then I fell asleep.”
Mary and I met Doy and Loisanne less than seven years ago while speaking at a camp north of Toronto. After the evening meeting, at their cottage, Loisanne shared with us why she was constantly short of breath. Like my wife, Mary, she loved to knit and while searching for yarn in town one afternoon, they connected. Mary told her new friend, “You’re sixty-five and I’m going to ask the Lord to give you five more years.” It seemed impossible, but the Lord said, ‘Yes.’ On the phone Doy continued to share, “I woke up early in the morning, and immediately realized she was finally home.”
Doy and Loisanne began their day together reading these daily Devos, but, of course, Doy didn’t get to read the devo for February 8 until that night. He asked us, “Dave and Mary, guess what the devo was for that day?” “Removing the Sting.”
This week, we’ve all felt the sting again. I thought it would be good for us to conclude our devos on Hosea* going back and re-reading that Devo that comforted Doy on his tough day.
How can a people who have experienced the finality of death still have a happy ending? Hosea never answers this question. Like the unresolved tension in our favorite TV series that makes us tune in again next week, Hosea forces us to keep moving forward in God's Story of Redemption. In this case, we have to go to Paul's first letter to the Corinthian believers. Near the end of his classic discussion on the resurrection, he quotes first Isaiah 25:8 and then Hosea 13:14.
"When the perishable has put on the clothes of imperishability, and this mortal has put on the clothes of immortality, then will be fulfilled the words that stand written,
'Death has been swallowed up in victory!
Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?' The sting of death is sin and the power of sin is the Law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
Jesus' death is the climax of the Story. The cross is where Jesus fully experienced the sting of death. He took the divine punishment demanded by the Law that not only Ephraim deserved, but also all of us. But that didn't end his story and it doesn't need to end ours. Jesus rose again; therefore, those who died in the Assyrian invasion in Hosea's time could still shout victory. If they trusted in the Promised Seed that God said would conquer the Serpent and death way back in Genesis 3:15, then the murderous violence of the Assyrian warriors wouldn't end their story. With us who believe today in Jesus' death and resurrection, they are going to be clothed in a new body that will be imperishable and incorruptible forever.
LORD, use Hosea and Paul’s message that there can be resurrected life through the Messiah Jesus who on the cross took death’s strongest sting but removed it when he rose again on Easter morning to help each family in Florida facing such intense pain today and the coming days.
*Tomorrow we will begin devotionals from The Gospel With No Frills.
For more from Dave Wyrtzen please visit TruthEncounter.com!